Google offers up US$1 million prize to shrink size of power inverters

The old saying says good things come in small packages. Google and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) seem to agree having launched the Little Box Challenge, an open competition with a US$1 million first prize to find innovative electronic designs to shrink power inverters down from their current bigger-than-a-bread-box size to something less than the size of a small laptop. Read More

1927 Nobel Prize in chemistry medal up for auction

If you've ever wanted a Nobel Prize and don't have the time to come up with a major intellectual contribution, you can just buy one… the medal, that is. Not the prize itself. At Nate D Sanders Auctions, the 1927 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is on the block today. It was originally awarded to German biochemist Dr Heinrich Otto Wieland and, according to Sanders, it's the first Nobel Prize in Chemistry medal to go up for auction, and the eighth in all.Read More

Good Thinking

British public to vote on 21st century Longitude Prize

Three hundred years ago, the British Parliament established the Longitude prize; one of the most important technology competitions in history. Longitude Prize 2014 hopes to duplicate that feat with a new competition with a £10 million prize aimed at solving one of today’s great technological challenges, with the British public voting for which issue the prize will be given to.Read More


XPrize announces Ocean Health competition

Since 1995, XPrize has been promoting science and technology by setting “Grand Challenges” with cash incentive prizes. On Monday, the organization announced the launch of three new competitions by 2020 as part of its XPrize Ocean Initiative, which is aimed at improving the health and understanding of the world’s oceans. Read More


US Federal Trade Commission offers US$50K prize for blocking robocalls

In the United States, about 30 billion robocalls (pre-recorded automatically dialed solicitations) are placed each year, and similar conditions hold across much of the world. In the U.S. and many other countries, most commercial robocalls are illegal. As part of an ongoing campaign against these illegal robocalls, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is launching its Robocall Challenge, seeking a solution that blocks illegal robocalls on cell phones and on landlines. It is offering a US$50,000 cash prize for the best practical solution. Read More

Holiday Destinations

The first plus-energy hotel in the Swiss Alps

The Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl located in Switzerland has recently been awarded the highly-coveted Swiss Solar Award 2011, Milestone 2011 Tourism Award and the PlusEnergieBau (PEB) Solar Award 2011, the only prize in the world for buildings that generate more energy than they consume. The 104-year old Berghotel underwent extensive renovations during 2010 to transform it into an environmental-friendly location, giving rise to the first plus-energy hotel in the Alps. The hotel's recent success demonstrates that luxury accommodation can be implemented within the framework of a plus-energy building concept even at 2,456 meters (8,058 ft) above sea level.Read More


Fleet-of-foot robots could win $200,000

A prize of US$200,000 is being offered for the first robot that can successfully move 10 km (6.2 miles) within 10,000 seconds. Sound easy? Well, to claim the “W” Prize the robot must also negotiate four sets of obstacles that would stand in the way of ordinary wheeled vehicles, but could be easily overcome by a pedestrian. The robot must also accomplish this task using no more than 10 kj per kg of machine mass – in other words, less energy than it would take for a human to do the same task.Read More


X Prize competition moves to next phase with 43 teams remaining

From more than 100 entrants, 43 teams and 53 vehicles have now advanced to the most important, and possibly exciting, stage of the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize – performance and safety testing. The 43 teams represent 10 countries, 18 U.S. states, and six fuel types and all have passed the fuel-efficiency competition’s Design Judging phase. Vehicles must be able to achieve more than 100mpg or energy equivalent (MPGe), as well as being vehicles that people want to buy, meeting market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance. Read More


    See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning